Oklahoma learns Cougars aren't so weird

Oklahoma learns Cougars aren't so weird

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PROVO -- As the big game between BYU and Oklahoma approaches, people in the Sooner State are learning a little more about BYU. They're learning the Cougars aren't really that strange.

The headline of the story from The Oklahoman reads, "Debunking the mystery of BYU: School isn't weird or cultish, just into clean living." It's a complimentary article on Brigham Young University, but it begs the question, "What exactly do people in Oklahoma think of BYU?"

Kenneth Hunt, co-chair of the Tulsa Chapter of the BYU Alumni Association said, "Some of them would clearly think that we might be like the Mennonites."

Hunt says some people in Oklahoma who visit the campus in Provo expect to see women in long dresses and men in white shirts and ties, possibly like the most conservative students at Oral Roberts University. When they see the students appear like those at any other university across the country, they're shocked.

Some of them would clearly think that we might be like the Mennonites.

–Kenneth Hunt

"A lot of people, when they find out that I'm a Mormon, they don't really believe it. Their vision of what a Mormon is is totally different," he said.

Basically, Hunt says people there form a mental picture of BYU students and LDS Church members based on what they've been told and what they've seen, which could happen anywhere, not just Oklahoma.

When Hunt was called to be a bishop with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, his friends wanted to be nice and get him something for his new position. But, they had an incorrect image of what an LDS bishop would need.

"The misconception was [that] I wore robes and stuff like that. It had nothing to do about Mormons. They just associated what I did with what a priest would do," he explained.

He says some Oklahomans had trouble believing Mitt Romney was LDS because they thought he just didn't look like one.

Standing-room-only Tickets

Meanwhile, there's great news for Cougar fans: Tickets are still available for Saturday's big season opener in Dallas.

The game is officially sold out, but fans can still buy "Spirit passes." They are standing-room-only tickets that cost $25 each. They are available at the Ticketmaster website.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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